I didn’t want to go and the anxiety was taking over. Ten years since high school and I agreed to play in an alumni basketball game. I haven’t really touched a basketball in ten years. I didn’t know who was going to be there, and I thought it might be awkward. I didn’t want to get hurt either because… well for many reasons, but mostly yoga of course.
I was battling thoughts left and right and the fear was taking over. The thoughts of not good enough… the thoughts of not perfect enough and never was good enough were running constant. I pictured missing shots and turnovers and people laughing. The nervous feelings that I used to get before games were all back… along with having to use the restroom a lot and shaky hands. I could think of all these reasons not to go.
I knew if I didn’t go I would regret it though. I had to open myself up to new experiences and keep pushing the comfort zone to stay mentally healthy. I knew that I had to feel the fear and do it anyway, and I tried to take steps to set myself up to go and have a good time. These are all based on personal experiences.
1. Sign Up – The first step I do is sign up for the event I want to go to or make a commitment to someone by saying that I will be there. If I do this, then I feel obligated to go even when the nerves set in.
2. Do Yoga – I went to hot yoga to try to calm the nerves. My intention was to let go of some of the expectations I was placing on myself to be perfect and release some of the tension. It helped a little, but I was still kind of nervous. I wish I would have known more about yoga when I was in high school. I really think it would have helped me a lot before games, and I think it could help so many athletes.
3. Act Excited- I remembered talking to my therapist about what we can do when we are nervous, and she talked about acting excited instead since nervousness and excitement are both very similar. So I gave myself some little pep talks and reminded myself it is for fun and to have fun. I love basketball, being part of a team, competition, and great memories. Get excited!
4. Be Prepared- I planned what I would wear and put it on early. I also got my stuff ready early in the morning. I put my bag together to make it harder for me to say no. I would be all ready when it came time to leave.
5. Breathe- When I started to feel like I shouldn’t go, I took long, deep mindful breathes and reminded myself it would be alright. Don’t underestimate the power of your breath.
6. What’s the Worst?- I asked myself what are the worst things that could happen, and I gave myself some permission to sit with those nervous, anxious feelings without guilt. I decided some of my fears were irrational, and I could live with the worst of what could happen.
7. Picture Success- After I asked myself the worst, then I tried to picture what could go right instead. For instance, I pictured making shots and dribbling and passing successfully. I pictured enjoying the competitiveness and being part of a team again.
I did have fun except for the running out of breath thing. I played very similar to how I played in high school… which was focusing on defense. I was glad that I got to see, talk to, and play with past players too. I was happy that I went! I have discovered I always end up happy when I wanted to retreat, but go anyway. Overcoming those fears feels so good, and is another great reason to go!
These tips have been helpful for me for several events that I have felt nervous about, and I hope they give you some ideas.
Yesterday, as a group at yoga teacher training, we taught our first class for people other than our fellow yogis in training. We planned the class together and then each person had a part to teach. I practiced my part of the flow quite a bit at home, and even recorded myself and put it on YouTube yesterday. (I posted the video at the bottom.)
Anxiety Was Calling My Name
I was really nervous and had so much anxiety about teaching this class in person though. I freaked myself out over it. My stomach hurt, I didn’t want to go, I had to pee like a million times. I thought about it and thought about it, and I practiced it a lot because I wanted to say everything perfectly.
We Aren’t Perfect
It is interesting to me how I can film a video and put it to the internet for people to see, and it doesn’t bother me as much as teaching it in person. I am obviously an introvert. The video that I made has mistakes, too. I said put your thigh on your knee at one point and didn’t even catch it while saying it. I said other parts wrong as well. The dog walked in front of the camera at the end, but by that point I was like, oh well! I decided one of the main points of Balance Queen is to show that we aren’t perfect anyway. Part of me just thought that no one is probably going to watch it, so just post it. It gives me practice teaching, and I don’t have to do it for a live audience.
Giving Ourselves Credit
Before the class, I reminded myself that I had practiced and felt pretty good about how much I had improved teaching that flow in the past couple of weeks. I reminded myself that I am a beginner, and I need to allow myself to be one without picking myself completely apart to the point of shutting down. I was nervous while teaching it, and started sweating profusely. I did make mistakes, and I forgot some of the things that I wanted to say. I showed up when I was scared and didn’t want to though. I did what I needed to do. Sometimes, we are so hard on ourselves and don’t give ourselves any credit for what we did do.
Will Teaching Yoga Serve Me
I honestly don’t know if I even want to teach yoga when I am done. I have thought about doing yoga videos like Bad Yogi or Yoga with Adriene as well. I do yoga to have fun and reduce anxiety and depression. If I teach it, will it just create too much anxiety for me? Will it be worth the time I put into it? Do I want to teach it? Am I good enough to teach it? I don’t want to let fear stop me, but I do think it is important to question if it aligns with what I want and what best serves me and my mental health though. I think back to when I started teaching first grade, and how I was a hot mess of anxiety. Sometimes, I still am because teaching little kids always brings new challenges. Overtime, I have become more and more comfortable with it though, and I know that is just how it works. We learn as we go, we get better, and it becomes easier.
We Don’t Always Have to Know Where We are Going
For me, the experience of challenging myself to take the yoga training, grow as person, learn something new, and get out of my comfort zone is pretty amazing when I think about it. I have learned a lot about yoga and myself, and it has been a great experience whether I end up teaching it or not. I am just trying to challenge myself, be open to new possibilities, go with the flow, and see where life takes me. I know there are other ways to challenge myself, too. I don’t think we have to always know where we are going (and we need to let ourselves just be sometimes), but I do think it is also important to try to question our intentions and challenge our fears.
What are you going to do that challenges your comfort zone?
I am a first grade teacher, and school ended for me on Friday. I always am excited to be done, but I also get a little anxious and lost feeling. “What am I supposed to be doing?” Yesterday, I felt like I had way too much free time in the afternoon. When I am busy, I don’t have as much time to worry! I cleaned some and added the crab rangoon tacos to the blog, but it still seemed to drag on. I am a little rigid with my routines sometimes so it is hard for me to work out so late in the evening…. especially for a 5K event because I always get a little anxious for them.
I have not even been running very much and decided where ever I was at by race day was what I had to work with. This is a much different mentality than I have had in the past. I have not even ran three miles in a row since last summer. This was definitely the least prepared I have ever been for one that I signed up for and that may be partially why I was feeling a little anxious. I started feeling like I couldn’t go to the race because I started feeling really lethargic too…anxious but lethargic. A strange combination, but it exists. I started to think that if nothing else, I had at least donated money to a great cause. I kept telling myself that I could do it, and that I was going to run. I drank some coffee and moved around. I even asked my husband to go support me, and he said that he would. That helped ease some of the anxiety.
I also told myself I could just walk if I needed to, but I really didn’t want to. (I did end up walking a couple times by the way!) I finished the 5K in about 31 minutes (my worst time for a 5K ever). I thought that was pretty alright for the amount of training I have done though. The great thing about this race was that it was for a good cause though (proceeds going to colon cancer). So I felt like everyone who participated was a winner. I have never done a race before that went to such a worthy cause. I think that in the future I should sign up for more of those types of runs.
You don’t have to be in great shape if you want to run/walk in a 5K. You don’t have to overtrain either. You can do it just because you want to, and it is a great way to help motivate you to run a little extra. I am a fan of movement, and I love running. I like the idea of moving because you want to move and you want to take care of your body. Signing up for a 5K can help give you a little extra motivation for movement though as long as you can do so safely.
After the Race
After the 5K, my husband, our friend, and I went out to get Sushi. Then we went and listened to live music. It was a beautiful evening, and I was so happy I had signed up. That is how it always goes though…I get so anxious over nothing! Maybe someday I will learn. Maybe.
When we got home, I slept great. I woke up at 5 a.m. like normal, but sleeping the whole night through instead of waking up at 3:00 extremely anxious has been an improvement. If you have been following me, then you know that I stopped taking my anxiety/depression medication. Since then, I have not been having night sweats, and I feel like I am doing alright for the most part. When I first quit taking it, I felt like I was in a slump, but as time has gone on, I have felt like I am handling things ok. I am doing a good job of eating and taking care of myself.
I never wanted to go on medicine, and I always knew that I would want to try to stop taking it at some point. I actually do support it, and I think it helps a lot of people. I may even go back on it at some point. I try to stay open-minded about it, but if I can go without it, I personally am going to go without it. I feel like I am at a place where I can do that and things are alright now after getting out of the initial rut. My coping skills have improved a lot since I started taking it. If you are trying to make a decision about medicine, you know yourself best… just be honest with yourself.
P.S. This morning when I went in to do yoga, I found out that I actually got third for my age group. I do not feel like the time was third place worthy, but hey, I’ll take it.
My yoga practice has been all about letting go lately. The goals that I have had for poses just have not seemed to be there. I think that this has been important though because it has helped me deal with my attempts to control everything. Every week does not have to be about making huge gains. Sometimes the week is just about maintaining sanity and letting go of things you can’t control.
Focusing on the Breath
I originally started yoga to relax and be healthy; body, mind, and spirit. Some where along the way I got a little caught up in controlling the practice though. I was able to practice yoga at home for longer periods of time once I started to understand it better, and I started to control it… like I try to control so many other things. The past week it has been all about letting go and focusing on the breath and letting my body guide me. It has been about the focus to relax and not push for poses, but just move intuitively. The movements and breathing have been about accepting my body and life for what it is.
Struggling to Cope
The main goal is to always take care of myself, and I will admit that I have struggled with that this week. I didn’t want to eat intuitively. I didn’t want to do yoga. I didn’t want to drink water. I didn’t want to write affirmations. I wanted to turn away from things that help me and I did. Why do we do that? I was having trouble letting go of so many things, and it was making it hard to care for myself. It was and is taking a toll on my health.
My yoga practice was hard to start, and a couple of mornings, it didn’t even happen. I knew I would feel better, but it was so difficult to just get started. My only motivation was to feel better and try to care for myself even when I didn’t want to. That is the healthiest way to motivate myself. Once I started, I just focused on letting go and not trying to control everything so much. It was my place of comfort. It was my place of letting go of the control that I always crave. I tried not to control the practice like I normally try to control it or think that I should be doing this or that. I just let it be.
Yoga is About Getting Better at Life
Letting go of what I thought the practice should be and what I thought my life should be were what kept me going this week. Yoga is so much more than just poses. It is so much more than pretty pictures. I love those things, I do. When it comes down to it though, yoga is all about getting better at life. It is about helping me cope and navigate this crazy, beautiful world.
How will you use your yoga practice? Will you let go of how you think things are supposed to be and appreciate them for what they are?
Do you look in the mirror and say awful things to yourself? Do you look down at your body and feel disgust? Do you feel your body and obsess about areas you don’t like? I used to be so hard on myself daily, and lots of times even hourly. I used to body check by feeling my arms and measure my wrists with my hands. I used to check in the mirror every time I went into the bathroom to see if my thighs touched when I stood with my feet together.
I think EVERYONE has bad body image days! Some obsess about it more often than others and have no tools to deal with it. You can feel so alone like you are the only one who hates their body. I used to feel alone and I had no support. Now I still struggle, but at least I have some tools in my toolbox to help me out. No matter where you are at in your body positivity journey, I hope you can find some of my tips helpful! These are things that have helped me. I know it is a long list, but I put a lot of thought into it, and I hope you read to the end!
I Accept My Body For All It Can Do
When I look at areas of my body, I try to think about how that area serves me and what it can do. For instance, my legs help me walk, run, and do yoga. They allow me to do new activities, like rock climbing and barre class. My arms and hands help me do everyday tasks like cook and help students with their work. What does your body do for you?
2. Keep a List of Three Things I Like About Myself
I actually keep a list of three things (you can do more) that I like about myself that have nothing to do with my body. One of mine is that I am caring. It can be other things like a good sense of humor, friendly, determined, etc. Don’t tell me there is nothing great about you!
3. True Beauty is On the Inside
I remind myself that true beauty is on the inside. When I start to get caught up in body image, I try to think about other areas of my life I can improve that have nothing to do with outer beauty. I try to focus on my character, learning something new, or doing hobbies I enjoy. I also try to think about other people and reasons why I like them that have nothing to do with their appearance. It helps me realize that I accept them for who they are and people who matter will accept me for my soul rather than just my body. In addition, I have tried to stop wearing as much make-up. It makes me feel like I don’t have to cover up my face. I don’t have to change my appearance to be a good person and neither do you.
4. Wear Comfortable Clothes
I try to wear comfortable clothing. When I put on tight, restrictive clothing, I am almost sure to have some trouble with body image that day. Unflattering doesn’t really bother me anymore, but tight is sure to set off negative thinking. I try to wear clothes that stretch and move with me. If your clothing is too tight, then my advice is to go buy some new clothes you feel comfortable in.
5. Critically View Social & Media Messages & Avoid Them
I didn’t used to think about how images were edited every time I see a picture. I didn’t used to think about how they pose and what lighting they use to look more flattering. I didn’t used to think about what some of those women and girls went through to get the body that they have. I know some are naturally small, but it shouldn’t be the only picture of health. I was looking at a Victoria’s Secret add that came to my house yesterday and all the women were small. They may naturally be that small and have to work very little to get their body, and some may have to work really hard and deprive and restrict themselves in unhealthy ways. I don’t know by just looking at a picture. I do realize that now I prefer companies to show pictures of women with different body types though, and I try to look critically at all pictures. In addition, I have tried to avoid some of those images. For instance, the people who I follow on Instagram has even changed. I like to follow women who keep it REAL and promote body positivity. Who will you follow?
6. Shut Down Negative Thoughts And Avoid Body Checking
One of the hardest things is to shut those negative thoughts down and avoid the body checking. You have to realize what you are doing and transform those thoughts as quick as possible. One of the ways I have done this is to turn the thoughts into funny upbeat songs. For instance, one of the things I have had trouble accepting is cellulite. Whenever that thought pops into my head about how much I hate it…. I start singing, “Me cellulite (instead of milkshake) brings all the boys to the yard!” Sometimes, I even dance a little. I really can’t do it without smiling, and it helps me move on.
7. Stop Comparing and Competing
Comparing or competing with another girl can be mentally and physically exhausting. I always wanted to be better than the girl standing next to me in every way. My thoughts made it hard for me to like them because all I could think about was how I wanted to be the best. I would put them down in negative ways in my head to prove to myself I was better. I did not realize that I just needed to try to work on self improvement. I do not mean compete with my prior appearance either. I mean making a shift to be a better person as a whole and work to complete personal goals.
8. Look for Positive Traits in Others
Rather than looking for negative things to say about another person’s body, I try to look for positives. The more I look for the positives in others, the more positive my thoughts are about myself because I am training my brain to look for the good. I actually have become more accepting of lots of body types as well! Bonus!
9. Listen To The Needs Of My Body
If I do not nourish my body, mind, and soul, then my brain and body do not function properly. I had to start nourishing my body and respecting it. This means eating intuitively and a wide variety of foods. I even have worked to change the meaning of healthy in my mind. Healthy could be, but is not always a body of defined muscles. Healthy is about being happy too and living your best life.
10. Find A Purpose
I have tried to focus more on living life and eating to live, rather than living to eat. As I have tried to shift the focus away from body image and put more emphasis on having fun or achieving goals, I have thought less and less about my body and food. The combination of eating mindfully for satisfaction and the excitement to move on to other things has helped tremendously. What is your purpose?
11. Feel Worthy
I have had to teach myself to feel worthy no matter what I look like. My body is worthy of love and respect. I am a human being and this is where I live. I try to care for myself because it is the only place I have to live. A number does not define me and my appearance does not define me. One of my “I am….” statements when I do yoga is “I am worthy.” If yoga isn’t your thing, maybe look in a mirror and say it to yourself.
12. Ask For Help
Sometimes you need the perspective of someone else you trust. We can’t always do it all alone. We can distort our bodies with our minds so I have talked about my body image with other people (professionals and friends). I let them know that I still want to lose weight sometimes, and I have trouble accepting parts of me. It really helps me to talk about it.
“Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.” -Albert Einstein
I used to run and count my steps. I wanted to make sure the fitness tracker was getting my steps accurate on my run. I would count my calories that I took in by weighing my food and only eating foods that I could track. I counted macros and tried to get my macros just perfect. If I was low on something, I would try to eat something that balanced it out for my goals. I counted how many days I worked out a week and how many workouts I did. I did everything but listen to my body. I counted, counted, counted, and tried to will my body to be something it wasn’t.
The focus on appearance was obsessive, and it would never be good enough. I am a competitive person, and I wanted to be skinnier and skinnier. I thought it would set me apart from everyone else in a good way. I wanted people to say she is such a hard worker, and she has amazing will power. I wanted to control everything that I could. I felt like I had little control over everything else so it was the one thing that I felt success with. What I didn’t realize was that the counting was controlling me and everything I did. I was in denial that I even had a problem. I didn’t realize at the time that the counting was useless and making me even more miserable. All the counting is not necessary, and I am going to explain how I have come to the conclusion that listening to my body and doing activities that I enjoy is a less time-consuming, healthier approach. This is all from my personal experiences, and I am not a nutritionist or doctor.
Counting Steps and Calories Out
The fitness trackers are not accurate ways of counting steps or calories out because they don’t measure exact steps, intensity, or personal factors. The fitness tracker steps are rarely accurate and can be off. You may have 9,887 steps displayed, but you may have only taken 9,800. (I am not saying go take more than it estimates by the way.) I used to walk around at night to make sure I hit 10,00 on my tracker. The goal to have 10,000 exactly is really kind of silly when I think about it now. I even thought that if I worked out and didn’t have the tracker on, the workout was a waste because it was not recorded.
The estimated amount of calories burned are not accurate either on most fitness devices including treadmills and so forth. In addition, it does not really measure the intensity of the workout. I could do a really intense strength workout that didn’t use many steps, but burned a lot of calories. You could have ran those steps, instead of walked them and it makes a difference. You could have been moving periodically throughout the day, or you could have done a workout then sat the rest of the day. Not to mention every body’s body is different and the amount of calories you burn can be different!
Not only is the tracker not accurate, but it emphasizes numbers instead of listening to your body and moving because you want to. It becomes a chore and a stress. Now I challenge myself to workout without the tracker and not even wear it sometimes. The goal to listen to my body and move intentionally has created less stress and worry about being active enough for the day. I do wear it still because it is my watch and connects to my phone, but I just do not put emphasis on it. The emphasis is on listening to my body and what it needs.
Counting and Measuring Calories In and Macros
Eating a certain amount of calories or measuring your macros is unrealistic, time-consuming, unsustainable. Counting calories and macros on MyFitnessPal seemed to do more harm than good. I went through some different phases trying to figure it all out and lose more weight. For a while, I would feel deprived if I didn’t get a certain amount of calories or if I was not high enough on certain macros so I might eat even if I wasn’t hungry. Later on, it was usually more along the lines of depriving myself when I did feel hungry because I didn’t want to go over on calories. I was completely ignoring my body. When I would measure my food out exactly… it took a lot of unnecessary time and work when my body already knew what it wanted. The portions never looked right. In addition, if I did’t measure the food out exactly, it was just an estimation and not really worth counting anyway.
Focusing on counting and measuring out food can wreck havoc on your social life as well. I was never very social to begin with, but it got worse. Social gatherings became full of fear and anxiety about food. To be honest, they still are sometimes. I would not go out with friends either because I would feel guilty for eating bad foods or foods that I couldn’t measure myself. I still cringe a little when I get asked to go get ice cream sometimes, but I try not to let the disordered voices win. I try to focus on having fun and eating the food that is there and what looks right. I obviously still have some things to work on and reminders to give myself.
Listening to Your Body is What is Important
You don’t ever have to track your food. You don’t have to eat something you don’t like or don’t want just because you are low on a certain kind of macros. You don’t have to track and hit calorie goals and macro goals. You don’t have to deprive yourself. You don’t have to ever eat out of containers that measure your portions to live healthy. You don’t have to focus on appearance to be healthy. You don’t have to eat the same foods over and over again. This goes for everyone! Developing holistic healthy behaviors and relationships is key for everyone no matter where you are at in your journey and no matter what size you are. Listening to your body is what is important.
There Is No Perfect Balance
Eat for satisfaction and what looks right. I just try to include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein where it works for me. I feel like we try to make healthy living so complicated, when it doesn’t have to be. By listening to my body, focusing on living life, and eating what is available or easy, I have had more success with naturally being healthy and happy as a whole. Everything does not have to be planned and every meal does not have to be balanced. I do strive for balance in life, but it is important to remember there is no perfect balance either.
The Counting Doesn’t Count
All that counting really doesn’t count when it comes down to it. It was setting me apart in a bad way… not in a good way. I was not looking at being healthy as a whole: mentally, physically, and spiritually. I still struggle with counting things sometimes, but I have to keep telling myself that the counting doesn’t really count. I have to keep listening to the rational voices and not the disordered ones. The things that really matter in life, can’t be measured and counted. The types of things that I should work hard at, have nothing to do with counting and appearances.
Are you going to count and worry your life away or are you going to try to live intentionally and care for your body, mind, and spirit?
Exercise is a complete celebration of what the body can do. It is not a punishment for what you ate! I keep hearing so many women talk about how they need to work off the goodies that they ate over the holiday. I hear it other times as well, but especially this time of year.
Actively Change Your Thinking
I am guilty of thinking like that in the past, and those thoughts still creep into my head at times. However, I have made it a point to actively kick those thoughts out of my head and change my way of thinking. When I go work out, I stop and think about why I am doing it. It is much more motivating and healthy to think about what my body is able to do, and not focus on working off food.
A Healthy Relationship with Food and Exercise
You deserve to eat, enjoy life, and different kinds of food if you want. You don’t have to work it off. I might sound repetitive, but I know how many times I have to say it to myself, so I am trying to reiterate it. I want you to have a healthy relationship with food and exercise. If you are motivating yourself by saying you need to work on “trouble spots” on your body it is not healthy. If all your focus is on weight and how you look, it is not healthy. If you are trying to work off food you ate, it isn’t healthy. It is buying into society’s idea of beauty, and punishing yourself because you may not fit that ideal. It is so hard on your self-esteem, and it effects your confidence and happiness. When part of your motivation for working out is feeling bad about your looks and bad about what you ate, you are punishing yourself.
Our Bodies Are Made to Move
Our bodies were made to move and accomplish amazing things. When I watch athletic events and competitions, I see people doing extraordinary things with their bodies. When I watch children play, I see that they just enjoy moving and having fun. When I see dancers dance, I see passion for what they are doing. When I see my own videos of yoga, I am astonished at how far I have come, and how far I have to go. I am surprised by how my body can easily adapt to other skills too.
The Body Adapts
I attended a beginner Aerial Silks class last night at Flow Foundry in Wichita, Kansas. You hang from silks and do different things like climb, flip upside down, and hang completely using only arm strength at times. It took a lot of core strength and leg strength as well. I was really amazed at how my body could adapt from my yoga practice to the silks class as easily as it did. To me, it is truly a celebration of what my body can do, and the best part was that it was fun and exciting trying new and different movements.
When I was working out to form my body, I still enjoyed workouts and trying new things, but my motives were different. My mindset was different, and it was not healthy at all. I would punish myself, and it was a miserable cycle. Eventually, I had to stop working out all together for a while to get out of those habits. I would take walks and stretch, but no step counting or strength. I was upset because I couldn’t work out, but I knew it was what I needed at the time. If that is what it takes to be in a healthy spot, physically, mentally, and spiritually, then it is worth it. I don’t regret taking some time off to get to a better place, even though it was hard. You can always go back to it later. It has taken me a long time to get to where I am at today, and I still struggle sometimes.
What Are Your True Motives?
I just encourage you, no matter where you are at in your journey to actively focus on and evaluate your motives for doing anything. Do something you enjoy to help you deal with stress, take care of yourself, and think about and CELEBRATE YOUR BODY AND ALL THAT IT CAN DO. NO PUNISHMENTS!
Healthy Happy Balanced Life Today and Everyday…. Not Just for a New Year!
I will be counting my blessings today instead of the calories! However, I do have some guidelines that I am going to try to follow to continue to have a healthy relationship with food. This is not dieting, it is being mindful and trying to be healthy, happy, and live a balanced life.
I will be eating three meals today. I won’t save up calories for a meal by skipping other meals. I won’t be counting the calories of any meal today, but rather trying to eat three balanced meals like normal.
I will not worry what others think of my plate. I will get what I think is right for me. I will try to use a plate and not graze. I will try to take a small break and breathe if I get anxious.
I will be eating dessert. Everyone can have a little dessert of their choice. I will try to pick one, eat slowly, and be mindful. That is something I can do with every bite of any food.
I will not punish myself if I eat a little too much. I will not cleanse or detox or overwork myself because I ate too much. I will not restrict or do resets. I will just try to get right back to my normal eating.
I will be going to hot yoga today and tomorrow as long as I am in good health. Not because I want to work off calories, but because it is an activity that I enjoy, and I want to do it.
I will try to focus less on the food, and more on of the meaning of Thanksgiving because it seems to help me with some anxiety about food.The pilgrims and Indians had a feast, but it was not near as extravagant as we try to make things in our society. Sometimes, simple is just better. This is the holiday we are supposed to be thankful for what we have, and not spending our time upset about foods and perfection.
I could list so many things that I am thankful for on here, but honestly the list could go on and on and on and on…. today and everyday.
Are you going to try to focus on your blessings today and everyday, or are you going to focus on food and calories?
I know for many, it isn’t that easy, but if we don’t pick something to strive for, we will surely have trouble getting there. I truly hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving and take care friends! I am thankful for all of you who have supported my blog!
Sometimes when we get stressed or feel short on time, we go away from the things that help us. Every year around conference time, I get really stressed out, and I have trouble relaxing. All of my thoughts tend to center around them. I have to do other things to get my mind off of them and quit overthinking them. I want to be prepared yes, but thinking about it and thinking about it does no good. I tried to stay busy this weekend to help relax my mind and write my conference comments.
In the past, I have felt guilty for taking time to myself, when I know I have things that should be done. However this year, I took the approach of taking needed time to myself to do things that help me and I enjoy. It is hard to run on empty. It has helped to take a mental break to quit overthinking, and then do what I needed.
If you followed my story this weekend. You know that I was making a list and trying really hard to do things that help me relax and have a mental break. I am going to go into a little more detail about each of them… in a different order though!
I signed up for a 5K fun run in my home town knowing that it was the weekend before conferences. I thought about not signing up because I figured I should make time to be at home as much as possible to get prepared. However this is when I first decided, I was going to do things I enjoy and not feel guilty. I just knew I needed the mental break to prepare. It was just as important as all of the other preparations. (P.S. If you want to push yourself to work out signing up for a 5k can be a good strategy to push yourself. I have been running more for my workouts to try to prepare for running the 5K. I try to keep the focus on running for fun and to feel good, but there is always a competitive part of me that wants to train harder. I like to win! Who doesn’t? I actually did win. There were two young girls who were right behind me at the finish, and I thought about giving into the fatigue, but I just had to push through.)
Two: Time with People & Eating Brunch
I know I need to spend time with people to keep from withdrawing. It can be friends or family, but it is so important to push myself to do this even when I don’t want to. I went and had brunch with my dad and ate some pancakes and eggs. Food is fuel and energy and sometimes that is in the form of a pancake! I didn’t used to eat them at all for a while, but as I have learned a balanced approach is best!
Three: Daisy Pup Cuddles
Well this one doesn’t really need much explaining, but having a dog to cuddle with has been so helpful.
Four: Clean Environment
I tried to do some cleaning and laundry even though I didn’t want to. I know that when my environment is clean, it makes me feel better and more prepared for any other stress. This is self care in my opinion because when I feel like everything around me is a mess, I feel like a mess.
I took time to laugh at my husband and his overalls…. not in a mean way. I just got a chuckle out of it. He snuck some overalls into the washer that I never wash because I don’t really like them. I also like comedies, but I am not really a TV a watcher. I try to find amusement in every day life. My husband helps.
Every morning I took time to breathe. This is something I don’t want to do when I get stressed. I want to start doing everything that needs to be done, but I realize that I am not usually mentally prepared to do them without a little bit of time to relax.
Seven: Eat Veggies and Whole Foods
I tried to indulge and eat my pancake, but then I wanted my natural whole foods for energy as well. I balanced out my brunch with a salad for dinner with lots of veggies. I do love salads! I really think that I am lucky that I like so many foods.
Eight: Stay Hydrated
I turn to coffee for energy sometimes when I feel stressed. This weekend, I tried to drink more water and some Pedialyte to replace some electrolytes. I did drink some coffee too, but I tried to limit it.
Nine: Grocery Shop and SOME Food Prep
I actually kind of like grocery shopping, but so many times I rush through it trying to get to the next thing. I took time to walk around the store and explore a little without rushing. When I got home I did a little food prep to help prepare for the week, but try not to overdo it and spend a whole day in the kitchen preparing the same things to eat day after day after day. A variety is important and if you food prep too much, you end up with no variety.
A yoga class is so important to me mentally to detach. I can stretch and breathe at home, but it is just not the same. A class challenges me in ways that I never thought it could. I enjoy being around people too because again, it is another challenge for me that pushes me out of my comfort zone. Yoga is another piece of the puzzle that is so helpful to me and encourages me to take care of myself.
Take the Time
If we take that time to care for ourselves, we can handle the stress going on around us a lot better. I can often accomplish more in the time that I am working if I take some self care brakes. You have to find out what works for you.
Stay active because you love your body, and not because you hate it. Self destructing thoughts are not motivating. They can get you up and get you going sometimes, but they won’t make you happy. It also isn’t a good lifestyle approach to living a balanced, healthy life.
I really believe that EVERY woman struggles with their body image at times. Some days are better than others, some months are better than others, and even some years can be better than others.
I try to focus on working out because I want to do something for my body to help it stay healthy. It hasn’t always been that way. Many days I still struggle with it, but that is the goal.
In middle school and high school, I was active just because I loved being involved in sports; I played volleyball, basketball, and track. Then, my first two years of college, I competed in track, and I was a thrower… not a runner. My last years of college and my first year of teaching, I didn’t really stay active at all.
The Wrong Mindset
Then, I started to work out again when I started to help coach middle school track. My motivation for it was not just to stay active and have fun, it was to lose weight. This is where I believe I went wrong. I didn’t start with the mindset of loving my body, I started with the mindset of hating it.
My motivation to work out was to lose weight, and that is what my all of my workouts and eating centered upon. I would say mean, down right horrible things to myself in order to get myself moving, and eat only foods that I thought were “healthy.” It wasn’t healthy though. I felt sluggish, and tired because my diet wasn’t varied, and I was not fueling my body to work out.
Hating my body, motivated me personally to work out and change my diet to less food. But I think it can have the opposite effect as well. If you are working out because you hate your body and that is what you think about when you are working out and trying to eat healthier, then I think it is detrimental to your efforts as well. It can make you want to stop working out, and stop trying to eat healthy. Reasons may be because you don’t have to think about it as much, the thought process of you aren’t failing if you aren’t trying, or an increase in depression and decrease in motivation.
A Better Way of Thinking
If you believe in the goal of becoming healthy and want to take care of your body, it is a much healthier and happier approach mentally and physically to love yourself. I think it is more sustainable as well. I still struggle with loving my body, but I try to keep the focus to workout and eat whole foods because I am working to love it, not hate it. This thought process has helped me stay motivated to live a balanced life, and I hope it can help you, too.
Will you try to stay active and motivated with the mindset of loving your body and taking care of it?